ESL has banned MIBR, Heroic and Hard Legion’s CS:GO coaches for abusing a visual bug in the game. The three teams will also forfeit their recent prize money and ESL Pro Tour points.
ESL Bans CS:GO Esports Coaches
As part of a recently concluded investigation into the exploitation of a spectating bug in ESL and DreamHack CS:GO tournaments, we are issuing punishments to the coaches of three teams today.
— ESL Counter-Strike (@ESLCS) August 31, 2020
A visual bug allowed coaches unrestricted vision in a particular section of the map. Coaches could move their cameras around to see the enemy’s movement. The exploit provided teams an unfair advantage and ESL found evidence of at least three tier 1 CS:GO esports coaches who abused this bug in professional matches. MIBR’s Ricardo “dead” Sinigaglia, Heroic’s Nicolai “HUNDEN” Petersen and Hard Legion’s Aleksandr “MechanoGun” Bogatiryev have been banned from ESL and DreamHack events following a thorough investigation by freelance observer Michael Slowinski.
The bug allowed CS:GO coaches to freely move their camera in a particular area of the map. This static camera let the coach see live player movements and positions during the round.
For those wondering how this coaching bug works, here is a short clip of me being bugged on mirage, A spot. You can pick any location on the map you want. And yes, you can rotate the camera angle as much as you want. pic.twitter.com/C0CdDV9zXi
— Michal Slowinski (@michau9_) August 31, 2020
Slowinski also released a clip that clearly shows how Hard Legion’s coach used this exploit to see the enemy’s positioning and movement at mid on the Mirage map.
The coach would be able to stay in that position, getting a free camera/observer position on e.g. the opposing team’s spawn area (or other areas of the map that would be hidden to the team otherwise), and could advise their team to react based on that knowledge.
ESL Notified Valve and ESIC
ESL has already notified Valve and the Esports Integrity Coalition about its evidence and action against the respective coaches. Other tournament organizers such as BLAST are a part of the ESIC. ESL’s statement says ESIC will issue a statement soon. Any action by ESIC would impact the coaches and teams’ participation in events other than ESL and DreamHack.
Heroic and Hard Legion Suspend Coaches
Heroic and Hard Legion have issued statements accepting ESL’s actions. The two teams have suspended their respective coaches effective immediately.
“Based on the results of internal discussions, we decided that the punishment from ESL was fair.” Hard Legion stated. “We refuse to make any appeal and we are staying on the side of the tournament organizer.”
Heroic coach, HUNDEN, knowingly used the exploit in ten rounds on one map. The suspended coach released a statement acknowledging his mistakes and said he was also the one to publicly release information about the bug to Slowinski.
We have a clear rulebook and have always followed a process that involved multiple people on our end as well as consultation and verification with external parties. Hard Legion and their coach have already confirmed that our findings were correct and accepted full responsibility.
— Ulrich Schulze (@theflyingdj) September 1, 2020
MIBR’s dead has called the accusations unfair on social media.
Abaixo a explicação, acusação injusta. O bug aconteceu (primeira vez que ocorreu comigo).Lembro do round e ter feito questão de nao comunicar absolutamente nada sobre o round.
As jogadas feitas mostram que nao houve auxilio algum. Prontamente sai do servidor após o round. https://t.co/Qzf79a5rx3 pic.twitter.com/7tAOJQ9AFJ
— Ricardo Sinigaglia (@ricsini) August 31, 2020
Valve has yet to release a statement regarding these bans and has not taken any action against the teams or players. Teams can appeal the bans if they consider them unjust. Although Heroic and Hard Legion already took action against their coaches.
Cheating of any kind in professional esports is unacceptable and against the rules of every tournament organizer. In the scope of CS:GO esports, Valve previously banned players for match-fixing and prohibits VAC banned players from competing in official events.
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Written by Rohan Samal